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Filipino domestic worker gifted with house and lot by UAE employer

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A domestic worker in the United Arab Emirates will become a homeowner with the generous help of her employer.

The Khaleej Times reports that Dina Tenerife Celo, 45, has been working for American Melissa McPike who became a UAE citizen after marrying a local man.

McPike gave her Dh23,000 (approximately P316,000) for a lot in her hometown in Camarines Sur and will pay for the construction of a two-bedroom house.

Celo told the Khaleej Times that she couldn’t afford to buy a house despite having worked as a domestic worker in UAE for several years. “I don’t have a penny as savings even after working in the UAE for two decades. Now, my dream is coming true, thanks to my madam. I feel lucky and blessed.”

Celo will take a full-year leave and is flying to the Philippines on Jan. 18. McPike’s 26-year-old son Saeed Al Muhairi will join her to supervise the construction.

“We do not consider her as an employee. She is one of our family,” said McPike, who is now divorced from her husband.

“She has done so much for me and my children when they were young. I wanted to give back something to her.”

Celo herself found a new family in McPike when her own marriage crumbled. “My marriage did not work out and it really took an emotional turn to be here. Now, I have a family to call my own in Abu Dhabi.”

She initially took care of McPike’s children in 1998 when they were 6 and 4 years old. When her contract ended after two years, she worked in Saudi Arabia until 2014 in supermarkets and cafes. The two maintained ties even when Celo was not always employed with the American.

In 2014, she was back to working with McPike and has stayed since.

McPike said of Celo’s work performance: ”I have had many other housemaids. But none were like Celo. She is trustworthy to the point that I even leave my debit card with her. She is hardworking and worked for us as though she belonged here. Even my children adore her and call her Aunty.”

She also said of the relationship between employers and domestic workers in UAE, “There are so many families that treat their domestic help with respect and love. And they deserve it.”

The house will be placed under the name of Celo’s son Ryan. Celo said McPike and her sons are invited to stay at her new home when it is finished.  Niña V. Guno /ra

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